A discussion over revising an ordinance governing the sale and use of fireworks within Nicholasville’s city limits exploded into a heated debate between peddlers and the city commission during Monday’s meeting.
The city commission approved the first reading of the revised ordinance, which will ban the sale and setting off of Class C fireworks. Class C fireworks include bottle rockets, Roman candles and larger items that shoot exploding fire balls into the air. The city commission felt the need to revise its ordinance, which it passed in May 2012, after receiving numerous complaints from residents following the 4th of July in 2012.
In addition, the fines regarding the sale and setting off of Class C fireworks will be increased. For those caught selling Class C fireworks, the new fine will be between $1,000 and $2,000. For anyone caught setting off Class C fireworks within the city limits, the fine for the first offense will be $250 and could reach $1,000 after three or more offenses in a 12-month period.
Jackie Browning with Mike’s Fireworks on Lexington Road took issue with the revised ordinance during the public-comment portion of the meeting.
“You’re still going to go with the safe and sane fireworks?” she asked, referring to fireworks like sparklers that don’t fly through the air. “We do oppose that. I bought a permit for a year that goes through June 30 that allows me to sell all Class C fireworks.”
Browning was informed that her permit will enable her to sell Class C fireworks until June 30, but after that, her new permits will be issued under the new guidelines.
Browning said she and other firework sellers have inventory left over from last year because of the drought.
“How are the other vendors that were here last year supposed to sell it?” she asked.
After Browning spoke, Wayne Malone, who works seasonally at a fireworks tent off Edgewood Drive, asked the commission why it would prohibit something the state says is legal.
“The law also says the city has the right to regulate, and these people here and the chiefs have heard from people in the community,” city attorney Bill Arvin said. “We’ve got the right under the statute to regulate, and that’s what we’re doing with this ordinance.”
Malone then asked that the measure be put on the ballot for a vote; Arvin said that wasn’t possible.
“There’s no statutory authority to put this on the ballot,” Arvin said.
Arvin and Nicholasville mayor Russ Meyer said the ballot issue could be changed only at the state level.
The revised ordinance would take effect following the second reading, which is scheduled for Jan. 28.